By; BAYO AKAMO, Ibadan
Governor Abiola Ajimobi on Thursday kicked against the proposed establishment of cattle colonies for herdsmen in the country by the Federal Government across Nigetia
Receiving the Alaafin with some prominent traditional rulers into the Oyo state Government House in Ibadan,Governor Ajimobi declared that the proposed establishment of cattle colonies across would amount to modern slavery.
The governor emphasized that as a way out of the various challenges presently facing Nigeria, the time has come for the adoption of true federalism as solution to the national question, saying, the proposal to states to make land available for the establishment of cattle colonies was against the letters and spirit of true federalism that vested ownership and control of land on states.
Governor Ajimobi maintained that the proposed cattle colony was disguised slavery similar to the long-forgotten colonization that Africa still rues till date but that Oyo state was prepared for a controlled ranching that would be established by the state government, which would have all the required modern facilities for good cattle breeding and ancillary services, adding that this would be at minimal cost to whoever wishes to make use of the facility, but would end the regime of open grazing.
“Cattle colony is tantamount to modern slavery, because colony is synonymous with colonization. We cannot have that in Oyo State. It is a pointer to the fact that federalism is not working in Nigeria. If poultry farmers or owners of piggeries, among others, are not being offered colonies for their own livestock, why should herdsmen be a survival category.” he said.
The governor added ” our position is to support controlled ranching, under which we will provide land and other basic modern facilities for good cattle business as well as breeding. Those wishing to rear cattle will use the facilities at moderate cost. No more, no less. You will say that the governor is the Chief Security Officer of his state, but he has no control over the police. That is another problem we have with our type of federalism. Another example is about those digging for treasures in our communities but collect licenses from the Federal Government.This is wrong. Nigeria needs true federalism. We will keep talking about it until it materializes.”
While emphasizing that colonies were not established for cattle or any livestock in South Africa and other emerging economies, he insisted that Oyo state would also not allow such, stressing that
notable Nigerians having farms in Oyo state have been complaining to him about herdsmen destroying their farms.
Expressing confidence that solution was in sight now that the menace had become pervading, Governor
Ajimobi said that he was happy that Oyo State was on the committee recently put together by the FG to find solutions to the incessant farmers-herdsmen clashes, expressing optimism that the associated problems would soon be resolved in the mutual interest of all stakeholders.
Speaking during the visit, the Alaafin of Oyo,Oba Lamidi Adeyemi disclosed that the proposed establishment of cattle colony was ill-advised and unacceptable to the people of Oyo kingdom adding that the committee of Obas in Oyo state was in support of the stance taken by the state government on the proposed cattle colony as all land belonged to the state government.
“We appreciate the governor for his forthrightness on this issue and for standing for the rights of the downtrodden, especially the people of his state. The FG does not own land; it belongs to the State. So, if truly we are practicing federalism, the federal government should not be collecting value added tax on businesses in Ibadan while the state struggles to provide facilities for the same businesses.Our own people are not cattle rustlers. Therefore, we can vehemently say now that we stand against cattle colony. We support our governor on his stand on ranching and against colony.” he said.
Oba Adeyemi then urged Governor Ajimobi to ensure that his successor was someone with sterling qualities and vision to sustain the legacy he would bequeath on the state, having, according to him, done so much that must be leveraged upon to further develop the state.
The Alaafin was accompanied on the visit by the Iba of Kishi, Oba Aweda Lawal; Sabiganna of Iganna, Oba Saliu Oyemonlaa, Ona-Onibode, Oba Rasheed Anikulapo; and Olokaka of Okaka, Oba Abdulazeez Olatunji.